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When the Feds Cut off Funding...
Will programs such as refugee resettlement thrive in the coming four years?
The U.S. federal budget allocates about $582 million annually to resettle refugees according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. These funds operate the federal bureaucracy, providing support to nine national Voluntary Agencies as well as the resettlement staff in a variety of local social service agencies, half of which are Catholic Charities.  Individual refugees receive transitional assistance, cash assistance for the first months, preventative health, English language and vocational training.  While the U.S. is home to 43 million foreign-born residents, this is the only federal program that provides assistance for immigrants in their first years. In 2016 nearly 85,000 refugees were welcomed and assisted in making a safe transition into U.S. residency with this 36-year-old program.
Disruptive political efforts are currently focused on this expense and, as a result, many services fear defunding. For comparative purposes: one F35 fighter jet costs $85 million and just one pilot helmet costs $400,000.  The annual budget for the Secret Service is $1.6 billion. Given the probability of reduced federal commitment to humanitarian admissions and cuts to the Office of Refugee Resettlement budget (quite apart from the facts that such investments are paid back over a lifetime of taxes) the question is rightly raised: "Is the federal government funding replaceable?" For the sake of discussion, a new life for one refugee in the US currently costs in federal dollars about $6800. If this existing program is cut, what viable options exist? Private philanthropy will not suddenly be able to replace the half billion dollars.

Advocates will be gearing up for budget fights with an anti-government administration assuming office in January, leadership that has already challenged refugee admissions, but there is a second line of thinking - to develop the private sector and public/private partnerships. Canada has 38 years of history with a model in which the visa has shared sponsorships for one year. Private sponsors may include charitable organizations, non-profits, corporate groups and or even a group of just five people!  Local support includes food, rent, utilities, school enrollment, cultural orientation, employment and health care (though health care is the a major difference since Canada has universal health care).  A report by the Niskanen Center, 2015, shows a 92% 'very successful' outcome regarding basic needs under the Canadian sponsor plan.  Australia has a similar pilot program. A key finding of this report is that enhancement and increased support for resettlement is fostered because local sponsorship engages private citizens in the process.  Early similar efforts in the U.S. resettlement program utilized churches and faith communities and the community support of the program was notably bi-partisan. Vasudha Talla (2016) of Human Rights First perceives a sponsor program as a means to provide for more refugees as it could operate under a separate quota and without the same demand on the federal budget or resettlement caseworkers. Likewise, a new model could help stabilize a program that may have decreased federal support.
Examining the refugee program is also an opportunity to think about private sector innovation across the spectrum of immigrant serving agencies. President Obama called for corporate response to the current refugee crisis and $650 million was committed by companies including Boston-based Trip Advisor and immigrant founded companies like Chobani and Soros Fund Management. One current effort is to increase 'migrant lens investing' (markets serving migrants). These companies focus on businesses that help newcomers begin to earn capital. By appreciating the markets around migration the case for support grows wider than humanitarian acceptance or political gain.
The U.S. refugee program is based in a variety of settings and these can be further expanded with creativity.  Imagine academics resettled by universities, medical staff by hospitals and software programmers by tech companies. Likewise, such partnerships could be mobilized for job training, ESL and even civic engagement initiatives including covering naturalization costs as a benefit. Where some countries are short of critical labor, international firms could invest in resettling refugees from camps to that country (or state), perhaps in 'friendly loans' or perhaps in advance pay. Talbot, Postel and Barder (2016) explore triple win initiatives which encourage settlement with little cost to receiving nations, work for the newcomers and increase in the social capital of an international company serving as a sponsor. Seldom are refugees (and other marginalized populations) seen as assets but new partnerships come from this shift in perspective.
While a sea-change in Washington may propel changes in financing, alternative models are valuable in themselves. Canadian studies show privately sponsored refugees tend to become self-sufficient at a faster rate than those who are government sponsored (Hyndman, 2011). Cities like Boston are almost cost prohibitive for free case settlement (those without anchor relatives) due to housing expenses. A parish sponsorship is much more likely to produce a favorable housing arrangement from an engaged landlord, and job networking can be improved with increased community connections. Civic association sponsorship and corporate sponsorships likewise are rally points to sustain members/employees and demonstrate the power of joint action for a common good.
Local support may result in welcoming communities benefiting from resettled refugees while those communities that are least diverse might reinforce their limited experience and fail to benefit from this successful US program. Migrants benefits measurably from being placed in a context of social acceptance. Likewise, secondary migration could be an issue but agreements regarding support can be crafted to reinforce mutual obligations.
The yin and yang of government leadership has inevitable consequences and human service agencies appear best when they have long term, dependable funding. If the season ahead is one of reduced human services or curtailing immigrant assistance, being ready with positive options will help those agencies that pursue new patterns to survive. Notable agencies refuse public grants and demonstrate organizational strength outside federal funding. Federal support plays an essential role in the U.S. pattern of supported non-profits providing critical services to our culture and not all vital work appeals to private philanthropy but refugee resettlement is an example of a cause that can be taken directly to the people.  The work of developing new models is best not left until the agencies have spent their last federal dollar.
In the current transitions of power, the power still belongs to caring people.

Westy Egmont, Director
BCSSW, Immigrant Integration Lab

Margalit Tepper
BCSSW Graduate Student '17

Hyndman, J. (2011). Research summary on resettled refugee integration in Canada. UNHCR: Toronto, Canada. Retrieved from:

Talbot, T., Postel, H., & Barder, O. (2016). Humanitarian investment fund for refugees: How to turn ordeal into opportunity for all. Retrieved from: 

El Movimiento Cosecha   is a nonviolent, volunteer-based, grassroots organization working to obtain protection, human dignity, and respect for the 11 million individuals who are living undocumented in this country. The movement is currently focused on two major campaigns regarding workers' rights: the Migrant Boycott and the Protect and Resist movement. The United States cannot function without its steady workforce, which is largely sustained by immigrants and low-income individuals. Thus, Cosecha believes that enough leverage can be generated to obtain dignity, respect and permanent protection for the millions of undocumented workers and individuals living in the United States. As stated in their  strategy plan , the four phases of the movement are as follows: 1. Building Support, 2. Political Intervention, 3. Economic Non-Cooperation, 4. Massive Strike. The members of this movement claim to be the students of Dolores Huerta, Cesar Chavez, and the thousands of farmworkers who took a stand against exploitation. They are also students of the thousands of African-Americans who stood up to the racist Jim Crow laws across the country. Following in the footsteps of great leaders who came before, the members of Cosecha are fighting for dignity and reconciliation through retelling stories of resistance.

The recent election has led to a heightened fear within our communities, especially for immigrant communities residing in the U.S. El Movimento Cosecha is determined to change the public's view of immigration and immigrants, while simultaneously winning protection for their wellbeing. In light of the deportation crises and significant increase in detainees, Cosecha is committed to  four campaigns , including the Sanctuary Congregation movement, Todos Nosotros platform, the Migrant Boycott, and the Sanctuary Campus movement. Cosecha has been a huge promoter of the Sanctuary Campus movement. They define this movement as a platform to claim spaces of resistance and protection for the vulnerable individuals in our country, including undocumented immigrants, Muslims, people of color and LGBTQ peoples. They have aided campuses in organizing walk outs, and have recently launched petitions for each university or college with a campaign. 


Mukhtar, M., Dean, J., Wilson, K., et al. (2016).
Journal of International Migration and Integration, 17(389), pp. 169-204.
In this study, researchers explore the challenges faced by Immigrant Settlement Agencies in the suburban community of Ontario, Canada. The authors argue that challenges go beyond limited financial resources and extend to system-level difficulties, including difficulties in planning and delivering services to newcomers. Looking specifically at the suburban municipality of the Peel Region, Ontario, Canada, staff and executive directors in settlement organizations were interviewed with the hopes of understanding the complex challenges they face within highly federalized and neoliberal policy environments. Results indicate that conditions often attached to funding, such as what type of program they are allowed to run, create obstacles that make it difficult to respond to the needs of immigrants in their community. Additionally, restrictive funding criteria often times contribute to competition with other Immigrant Settlement Agencies for limited resources. 
Fiorito, T. & Nicholls, W. (2016).
Qualitative Sociology, 39(3), pp. 287-308. 
Backstage techniques done by leaders and activists within the undocumented DREAMer youth movement in Los Angeles were necessary to create a stronger and more unified movement. While professional immigrants rights organizations created a framework and trained young leaders, in 2010 the DREAMers became an autonomous self-led movement.  Public unity is not natural, especially in campaigns made up of a diverse array of individuals and organizations, which can cause disagreements and lack of coordination, leading to failure. This analysis of extensive ethnographic research reveals that the strategies to create unity included training activists to become disciplined performers in the public arena, aligning feelings of activists using emotionally intensive disciplinary techniques, and managing differences and conflicts through the creation of free spaces. The authors illustrate how these strategies were utilized within this movement, even in a hostile political climate.  Overall, this case study reveals how the power of unified performance in the "frontstage" is largely reflective of significant structured "backstage" work.
Integrating social services and social change: Lessons from an immigrant worker center  
Gates, A.B. (2014).
Journal of Community Practice, 22(1-2), pp.102-129.
A multi-year case study analysis of the Great Lakes Worker Center (GLWC) illustrates how immigrant worker centers navigate the tension between social services and social action, meeting individual needs while also pressing for social change. Immigrant worker centers are independent grassroots organizations made up of low-wage immigrant workers and their allies. These organizations address both workplace and immigration issues. They emerged in response to reduced protections for workers and rising inequality, poverty, and a declining social safety net. The article gives an overview of worker centers and hybrid organizations in the context of social services and social action. It then examines how the GLWC navigated to focus on organizing campaigns and leadership development along with individual services for members. Themes that arose focused on organizing, the need to develop campaigns and grow indigenous leadership, and commitment to collective solutions. As GLWC integrated services into their organizing work, they focused on incorporating education, empowerment and leadership development, using services as a membership recruitment tool, and addressing community needs and priorities to be reflective of members. The author notes that the absence of social services for immigrants and aggressive immigration enforcement during this time period (2006-2009) favored a hybrid and innovative approach that advanced an overall social change agenda, which she proposes merits further exploration.
Results from a pilot promotora program to reduce depression and stress among immigrant Latinas 
Tran, A. N., Ornelas, I. J., Kim, M., Perez, G., Green, M., Lyn, M. J., & Corbie-Smith, G. (2014).
Health Promotion Practice , 15(3), pp. 365-372.
Latinas who immigrate to the U.S. are often at-risk for poor mental health due to the experience of immigrating, lack of social support, and pressure to acculturate. In addition, some are now settling in areas that are not traditionally gateway neighborhoods and which lack a strong network of Latinos. The Amigas Latinas Motivando el Alma/Latina Friends Motivating the Soul (ALMA) intervention was conducted in three communities in North Carolina using Latina promotoras (community health workers, lay health advisors) to provide culturally competent mental health education, coping skills, and resources to immigrant Latina women (compaƱeras) in their social network. Pre- and post-test results reveal a decrease in the levels of depressive symptoms, perceived stress, acculturative stress, and change in attitudes about depression treatment.

"Under the radar": Undocumented immigrants, Christian faith communities, and the precarious spaces of welcome in the U.S. South
Ehrkamp, P., & Nagel, C. (2014). 
Annals of the Association of American Geographers , 104(2), pp. 319-328.
The passing of anti-immigrant laws and policies in the U.S. in the past several years has increased surveillance of the undocumented immigrant population. Churches in the U.S. South have r esponded by extending their hospitality to undocumented immigrants through various services. Churches have created inclusive spaces for immigrants by hiring full-time ministers that can lead services in various languages and create different worship times provided in the immigrant's native language. Pastors are committed to fulfilling the spiritual needs of their congregation, thus, they operate "under the radar," where they do not ask their church members about their immigration status. Pastors have noticed that the presence of the immigrant population would decline during their church activities such as basketball games and health fairs due to increased police presence that has led some pastors to confront police officers and ask them to refrain from their enforcement activities. In addition, some donors to the church have withheld their financial contributions due to their anti-immigrant beliefs, which has also made it difficult for pastors to address undocumented immigration in their sermons. Instead, pastors quietly provide services to undocumented immigrants through writing character reference letters for visa overstayers, providing resources for legal advice, and other services as needed. 
In 2013, California enacted a Trust Act, which limits state and local law enforcement from holding individuals based on an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detainer request unless the individual has been convicted of one of a defined range of crimes. States are not required to enforce federal immigration detainers, so Trust Acts do not violate federal law. The Trust Act limits local law enforcement from enforcing immigration in part because immigrants are less likely to report crimes or cooperate with law enforcement when this contact could result in deportation. By limiting the circumstances under which local law enforcement can detain individuals without due process, the Trust Act also allows for greater procedural protections. California often leads the nation on immigration issues, and the Trust Act is a policy intervention that can be and has been emulated by other cities and states.

Partnering with immigrant communities: Action through literacy
By Campano, G. 
Teachers College Press (2016)
"In a period of increasing economic and social uncertainty, how do immigrant communities come together to advocate for educational access and their rights? This book is based on a 5-year university partnership with members from Indonesian, Vietnamese, Latino, Filipino, African American, and Irish American communities. Sharing rich examples, the authors examine how these diverse groups use language and literacy practices to advocate for greater opportunities. This unique partnership demonstrates how to draw on the knowledge and interests of a multilingual community to inform literacy teaching and learning, both in and out of school. It also provides guidelines for reimagining university/community collaborations and the practice of ethical partnering." 
- Publisher's Website

Integration nation: immigrants, refugees, and America at its best
By Eaton, S.
The New Press (2016)
"Integration Nation  takes readers on a spirited and compelling cross-country journey, introducing us to the people challenging America's xenophobic impulses by welcoming immigrants and collaborating with the foreign-born as they become integral members of their new communities. In Utah, we meet educators who connect newly arrived Spanish-speaking students and U.S.-born English-speaking students, who share classrooms and learn in two languages. In North Carolina, we visit the nation's fastest-growing community-development credit union, serving immigrants and U.S.- born depositors and helping to lower borrowing thresholds and crime rates alike. In recent years, politicians in a handful of local communities and states have passed laws and regulations designed to make it easier to deport unauthorized immigrants or to make their lives so unpleasant that they'd just leave. The media's unrelenting focus on these ultimately self-defeating measures created the false impression that these politicians speak for most of America. They don't. Integration Nation movingly reminds us that we each have choices to make about how to think and act in the face of the rapid cultural transformation that has reshaped the United States. Giving voice to people who choose integration over exclusion, who opt for open-heartedness instead of fear, Integration Nation is a desperately needed road map for a nation still finding its way beyond anti-immigrant hysteria to higher ground." - Publisher's Website

The housing and economic experiences of immigrants in U.S. and Canadian cities
By Pastore, F. & Ponzo, I.
Springer (2016)
"This open access book presents a comparative analysis of intergroup relations and migrant integration at the neighborhood level in Europe. Featuring a unique collection of portraits of urban relations between the majority population and immigrant minorities, it examines how relations are structured and evolve in different and increasingly diverse local societies. Inside, readers will find a coordinated set of ethnographic studies conducted in eleven neighborhoods of five European cities: London, Barcelona, Budapest, Nuremberg, and Turin. The wide-ranging coverage encompasses post-industrial districts struggling to counter decline, vibrant super-diverse areas, and everything in between. Featuring highly contextualized, cross-disciplinary explorations presented within a solid comparative framework, this book considers such questions as: Why does the native-immigrant split become a tense boundary in some neighborhoods of some European cities but not in others? To what extent are ethnically framed conflicts driven by site-specific factors or instead by broader, exogenous ones? How much does the structure of urban spaces count in fueling inter-ethnic tensions and what can local policy communities do to prevent this? The answers it provides are based on a multi-layer approach which combines in-depth analysis of intergroup relations with a strong attention towards everyday categorization processes, media representations, and narratives on which local policies are based. Even though the relations between the majority and migrant minorities are a central topic, the volume also offers readers a broader perspective of social and urban transformation in contemporary urban settings. It provides insightful research on migration and urban studies as well as social dynamics that scholars and students around the world will find relevant. In addition, policy makers will find evidence-based and practically relevant lessons for the governance of increasingly diverse and mobile societies." - Publisher's Website

Human Rights First, Urban Institute, & International Refugee Assistance Program (2016)
A resource guide for individuals and organizations in the United States seeking significant ways to assist refugees caught in the worst refugee crisis since World War II. The guide explores how private sponsorship can offer communities, organizations, companies, and philanthropies the opportunity to support the resettlement of additional refugees to the United States.

A case-study looking at settlement and integration service delivery in Canada and the role of nonprofits in the promotion of immigrant well-being. 

National Immigration Law Center (2016) 
A resource that outlines the rights of immigrants living in the United States. 

Partnership for Refugees (2016)
A resource guide for companies interested in supporting the refugee community. 

Partnership for Refugees (2016)
A resource that explores the private sector's role in protecting refugee and immigrant communities.

Partnership for Refugees (2016)
Case Studies of cross-sector partnerships that have developed innovative solutions to address critical refugee challenges. Examples include a partnership between Chipotle and the International Rescue Committee to advance employment opportunities and UPS sharing its expertise in logistics and supply management with UNHCR.

Welcoming America (2016)
A guide that explores the practices, strategies and models that can provide frameworks for those working in immigrant economic development to develop their own initiatives based on their local needs and infrastructure.

Welcoming America (2016)
Webinars, factsheets, resource guides, and presentations on immigrant integration into local economies.

Bier, D. & La Corte, M. (2016)
Resources for those working with American charities to resettle refugees. 

RCUSA (2016)
The RCUSA's call to action to private actors interested in funding refugee resettlement. 

Government of Canada (2016)
A simple guide from the Government of Canada explaining their government's different sponsorship processes. 
Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (2016).
The Text4 Refugees Project was started by the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC). Their efforts are to reach more refugees and asylees through their cell phones about the process of obtaining citizenship. Texts can be sent in Arabic, English, Somali, Nepali, Spanish and French. 
Follow Professor Egmont on  Twitter @wegmont
EDITORS: E. Camacho (managing editor), F. Crutchfield-Stoker, W. Egmont, B. Schmid, E. Siskind, M. Tepper, D. Maglalang & J. Verkamp